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The Towering Inferno (1974)

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At the opening party of a colossal, but poorly constructed, office building, a massive fire breaks out that threatens to destroy the tower and everyone in it.

Director:

John Guillermin

Writers:

Richard Martin Stern (novel), Thomas N. Scortia (novel) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
3,625 ( 154)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve McQueen ... Chief O'Hallorhan
Paul Newman ... Doug Roberts
William Holden ... Jim Duncan
Faye Dunaway ... Susan
Fred Astaire ... Harlee Claiborne
Susan Blakely ... Patty
Richard Chamberlain ... Simmons
Jennifer Jones ... Lisolette
O.J. Simpson ... Jernigan
Robert Vaughn ... Senator Parker
Robert Wagner ... Dan Bigelow
Susan Flannery ... Lorrie
Sheila Allen ... Paula Ramsay (as Sheila Mathews)
Norman Burton ... Giddings (as Normann Burton)
Jack Collins ... Mayor Ramsay
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Storyline

Doug Roberts, Architect, returns from a long vacation to find work nearly completed on his skyscraper. He goes to the party that night concerned he's found that his wiring specifications have not been followed and that the building continues to develop short circuits. When the fire begins, Michael O'Halleran is the chief on duty as a series of daring rescues punctuate the terror of a building too tall to have a fire successfully fought from the ground. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One Tiny Spark Becomes A Night Of Blazing Suspense. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 January 1975 (Singapore) See more »

Also Known As:

Flammendes Inferno See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$116,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$139,700,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| 4-Track Stereo (Japan theatrical release)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35:1 (35mm) 2.2:1(70mm)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

An instrumental version of the song "The Morning After" from The Poseidon Adventure (1972) can be heard in the background in certain scenes. See more »

Goofs

After Dan falls through and breaks the glass in the outer office, we see firemen in the same office, but all of the glass is intact. See more »

Quotes

Dan Bigelow: I used to run the 100 in 10 flat.
Lorrie: Don't go.
Dan Bigelow: I'll be back with the whole fire department.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Pictures logos don't appear in the beginning. See more »

Alternate Versions

The TV network version has about 20 or so minutes of footage added for prime time viewing. The some of the extra scenes include:
  • Fred Astair first arriving at the building art gallery and talking with Jennifer Jones.
  • Additional dialogue between Paul Newman and Faye Dunaway in bed in his office.
  • The jeweler first arriving at the building with the gold scissors and Robert Wagner arguing with his office staff of planing the evening dedication party.
  • A scene with William Holden talking to Faye Dunaway in the building lobby about her moving away from San Francisco.
  • Additional dialogue of the Mayor addressing the crowd at the pre-ceremony gathering.
  • A scene with Faye Dunaway and Susan Blanckley talking at at table about their significant others during the party.
  • A scene where a security chief phones about another fire that's now on the reception area of the 65th floor of the building, and more scenes of firetrucks driving towards the building.
  • The harrowing climb down the firestairs railing of the destroyed stairwell is longer and has some additional dialogue between Paul Newman and the others.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Perfect Strangers: Great Balls of Fire (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

The More I See You
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played as the group is heading to the elevator after the tower's lighting ceremony
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
10 Best Skyscrapers Movies
7 September 2013 | by berberian00-276-69085See all my reviews

I don't want to be insolent with the Americans about "skyscrapers" and what they mean to American culture and World culture, per se. It is in the aftermath of terrorists attack to WTO headquarters on September 11, 2001 that fiction became reality. The ridicule of emergency telephone number 911 is obvious here which come to support my initial suspicion that someone who knows American lifestyle very well has been initially involved - either as instigator or advising consultant to the terrorists themselves (Arabs by nationality but residing in America as exchange students). See it that investigating agencies shouldn't preclude local support either by exasperation or envy!

Now lets go from fact to fiction. I have arranged my list based on meta-analysis with modifications from the present database and Wikipedia which means that I have watched all 10 movies and have consciously selected them before the September 11, 2001 event. The younger generation of today maybe not aware but some 15 years ago when Internet doesn't existed the meaning of those tallest buildings and their symbolism was something to a commoner like me. I am a nobody person but sometime I used to travel around and attend some of those tall building and further reflected on what I have seen in cinema. There isn't much more to say except that you have to go inside in the masonry structure and see how that offset fittings are constructed, ipso facto.

See now my listing in order of importance but not of chronology:

1. Towering Inferno (1974) - architect Paul Newman and fire chief Steve McQueen, with Richard Chamberlain as the faulty electrician;

2. Fountainhead (1949) - an Ayn Rand's novel who is a Russian emigrant, with Gary Cooper as architect and Patricia Neal as finance magnate daughter;

3. Die Hard (1988) - Bruce Willis as New York cop fighting terrorists at Nakatomi Plaza;

4. Blade Runner (1982) - retired cop Harrison Ford pursues a murderous android Rutger Hauer in futuristic skyscraper city;

5. Metropolis (1926) - directed by Fritz Lang, which is a silent movie I didn't enjoy very much but still remains classic;

6. Entrapment (1999) - aging Sean Connery and beautiful thief Catherine Zeta-Jones in Kuala Lumpur skyscraper robbery;

7. Jungle Fever (1991) - black architect Wesley Snipes and Italian American Annabella Sciorra which I don't remember the plot;

8. King Kong (1933) - first giant ape toppling on Empire State Building;

9. King Kong (1976) - second remake where giant monkey climb the World Trade Center;

10. King Kong (2005) - third appearance of savage monster, this time shot in New Zealand and still grossed well on the market. Thank You!


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